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…the apocalypse

Jun 11th, 2014 | By

I would respond to the prompt, but I’m having a hard time connecting with it so I’ll just ramble on about other things…[one note about the prompt though–I like Berry’s line about being joyful although you’ve considered the facts b/c I  find myself feeling super pessimistic about the Institution that is “Middlebury College”, and yet there are many joys that come along with being a part of this community] … One of my best friends and I always talk about the (approaching) apocalypse. We can never trace  […]



Ignorance is Bliss and The Need for Equilibrium

Jun 9th, 2014 | By

“Be joyful though you have considered all the facts.” Immediately after reading these lines the phrase “ignorance is bliss” came to my mind. Life would be much simpler and blissful not knowing many things, but it would also lack the excitement, thrill, and fulfillment that learning provides. So Berry’s lines here gave me a feeling of release. They give a sense of permission to the reader to keep learning, even if all of the information learned is not “perfect” or “good.” In our recent 5th  […]



The Big Bad

Jun 9th, 2014 | By

Lately, everything that I read seems to be a footnote to Buffy the Vampire Slayer. So when I read the line, “Be joyful, although you have considered the facts,” I was forcefully reminded of the intersectionality of Buffy and Berry, particularly in Season 3 episode 20 when teenage Buffy (our protagonist) has her heart broken by her demon-with-a-soul ex boyfriend, Angel. Just moments before her last prom, she is brutally ripped away from the fantasy she takes solace in, that for just one night she  […]



Examining Contradiction

Jun 9th, 2014 | By

“Be joyful/though you have considered all the facts.” As others have written, the tension in this sentence makes it really rich for interrogation. I’m really interested in the way Berry elicits joy in his readers even as he presents cold hard facts – we’ve seen this in several of his pieces, both in the poem and in the collection of essays. I also am interested in one line preceding this one: “Expect the end of the world. Laugh.” For me, both of these lines speak  […]



And We Danced

Jun 9th, 2014 | By

Last summer, I had an experience that I would describe as life changing. That sounds overly grand, particularly given that the setting was a fundraiser wrapped up in a dance party for the bicycle advocacy non-profit that I had been interning with, but bear with me. I had been supervising the merch table for most of the night, but a friend took over for me as things were winding down, and I got a chance to join in the festivities. I ended up jamming with  […]



Knowledge, Actions, and Joy

Jun 9th, 2014 | By

“Be joyful, though you have considered all the facts.” This implies that the facts are unpleasant, and many of them are. I wonder if we could ever change the situation so the facts are mostly pleasant. This would be very challenging, and it’s hard to even know where to start. As Berry writes in his excerpts in Bringing It to the Table, our conventional food system is now so deeply rooted in short-term economic “success”, “inexpensive” fossil fuels, and unnatural technological “advancements” that it seems  […]



#1

Jun 9th, 2014 | By

Be joyful/though you have considered all the facts.   What does it mean? Let’s look at “you have considered all the facts”. This seems to refer to the act of learning about issues carefully, thinking thoroughly and knowing things such as the facts, statistics, arguments, etc. Take the topic of sustainable food and agriculture for example, if one were to “consider all the facts”, he or she probably would know about things such as the rising food prices, increasing levels of soil contamination, climate change  […]



Part-Time Crusaders

Jun 9th, 2014 | By

At first glance Wendell Berry’s pronouncement, “Be joyful/though you have considered all the facts,” may seem at once a puzzling oxymoron and at worse a call to willful blindness, ignorance of the worst order. I thought, “how dare someone consider the devastation of our current environmental crises and not work to her fullest extent possible to mitigate this damage.” I declared we all must partake in the great turning of our society to a more eco-conscious economy, an endeavor, which is difficult and meaningful, but  […]



#1

Jun 9th, 2014 | By

“Be joyful/though you have considered all the facts.”  In this haunting yet optimistic phrase, we’ve been instructed to be joyful, despite the dire and depressing facts our current environmental situation. This phrase resonates deeply with some of my personal beliefs. On multiple occasions, Wendell Berry strongly asserts that the deterioration of sustainable farming culture can be directly attributed to our capitalist, industrial economy and our unshakeable dependence on fossil fuels (BITT, 60). Berry then goes on to trace the roots of this cultural phenomenon to  […]



Vulnerability

Jun 8th, 2014 | By

Lately, I have been thinking about vulnerability. Not just physical or emotional, but the unanticipated vulnerability inherent to living fully, to opening oneself to the possibility of horror and hurt and laughing despite it all.   My conscious journey along this path began just over a year ago as I sat by the fireplace in a sturdy, granite hut on the coast of a tiny tidal island in the Inner Hebrides. The wind hummed relentlessly around the stones, forcing conversation to take place a notch  […]